There are very few situations in life as heartbreaking as miscarriage. Likely, you and your partner were overjoyed with the news of a new baby and immediately started planning the details of your expanding family. You most likely shared the news with close friends and family and the announcement was met with congratulatory messages and excitement.
The news of a miscarriage might feel unbearable, especially for mom, as there can be a sense of self-blame that accompanies the physical feeling of losing a baby. For the couple, there is most likely a deep sense of loss, that is most accurately experienced as the death of a dream as most expecting parents get far ahead of themselves in planning for life with their new child - gender of their child, what they will be like, what holidays will be like in the future.
Letting go of the attachment to the vision of that imagined life with baby is sometimes the most challenging aspect of overcoming a miscarriage. There can be a sense of hopelessness, anger, confusion, or even depression. However, it’s fairly common for men and women to deal with grief around it differently, which can result is some polarity in the relationship.
In this post, we’ll discuss some considerations around overcoming the emotional challenges of losing a pregnancy and how you can get the support you need.
Reframing your thoughts
Sometimes, overcoming miscarriage can be easier if you are able to reframe your thoughts about it. If you can try to accept that the loss of your baby had nothing to do with your behavior - which can be very challenging for moms in particular - and just wasn’t meant to be, it can be easier to let go and move forward. It’s often helpful to remember that in many cases, your baby didn’t thrive because your baby wasn’t healthy, that something was likely wrong genetically or with the implantation that caused the environment for miscarriage to occur. Oftentimes, the reason for a miscarriage is chromosomal in nature, and therefore, would not develop into a healthy baby. While some might find this way of reframing cold or distant, keeping this very scientific perspective top-of-mind can lead to more peace and acceptance about the circumstances. Working to accept that it wasn’t meant to be can be a helpful mindset to manage the emotional pain of losing a pregnancy.
Everyone is different
Oftentimes, a perspective of miscarriage is very physical and visceral, and the other partner’s experience is more emotional, and therefore may lead to different experiences of the loss and with letting go. A pregnant mother feels more of the actual sensations of baby living inside her, even for a short time or in spiritual ways, and therefore grieves the loss more deeply. While the father or other partner can certainly be highly empathetic and involved, they are not generally as physically attached to the experience, and therefore will deal with it differently. Recognize that this is normal and okay. Each partner will grieve with their own strategies and on their own timeline. Accept that your partner will not respond to the news in the same way and will not let go at the same time that you do. Grief may also come and go as new experiences, anniversaries and memories arise. Honor and respect the individual healing process that accompanies a miscarriage, and make self-care a priority during this time.
Miscarriage is often the “elephant in the room” that is rarely talked about in an open, supportive way. If you are fortunate enough to have friends who are open to discussing their feelings around miscarriage, or acquaintances who have experienced the same situation, make a point to spend time talking with them about the ups and downs you might be experiencing in the healing process. If not, seek the support of a pregnancy loss group or therapist who can be a neutral, supportive party and help you navigate the stages of grief and healing.
At Center for Shared Insight, we specialize in supporting women, partners and couples who are struggling with the dynamics of pregnancy and postpartum in similar situations, and share strategies and resources to help you get through moments of sadness, loss and disappointment. We help you understand when you might be ready to try to become pregnant again and what you can anticipate emotionally as that occurs. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how therapy can support your healing.